According to a report published by the Ministry of Women and Child Development of India, there are about 3 million sex workers in India among which 40% are minor aged between 10-18 years and 75% of these minors are brought into the business through trafficking.
Global March against Child Labour reports that 50% of the girls who are trafficked had lost their fathers who are the primary breadwinners of the family. Other 30%, the organization reports, have lost their mothers.
Atiya Bose, who is an activist working with a prominent NGO of India that helps rehabilitate the victims of sex trafficking, says that girls belonging to financially vulnerable families are particularly susceptible to such proposals.
Fake marriage proposals are one of the ways the traffickers get hold of these girls. The poor families get relieved when such marriage proposals are made because groom’s family is ready to pay to the girl’s family for marrying their daughter off.
In such fake marriages, victims are often forced to live like a servant for initial few weeks before being handed over to be sold elsewhere.
In some cases, friends, neighbors, local shopkeepers work as agents to hunt little girls for trafficking. Sitara, a 14-year old was drugged by a neighbor along with her sister and abducted to another state. The girls were raped for 4 days before being rescued by an NGO that works on anti-trafficking.
Sharmila, another victim of child trafficking was kidnapped by her neighbor, a person she considered her elder sister. She was raped and abused by the neighbors’ brother for months into captivity. It was Sharmila’s wit and intelligence that helped her escape the hell she lived in for months.
Quite often, in most cases the local police officers show indifference towards the plight of these abused girls. Either they remain indifferent in filing a case or help the miscreants to get a bail on easy conditions.
In some cases, the members of law enforcement agencies abused the rescued children themselves. In 2015, four police officers in Puducherry in India were sacked and charged with raping four children who were rescued from the traffickers.
There are laws to prosecute, but there is none to protect these children and women who get rescued. Often girls who spend as many as 3-5 years in captivity find it difficult to return to a normal life. Many among the rescued do not get the emotional and institutional support from the state. Thus, they become excluded from the society. Going back to the life as a sex worker is what they find the easiest.
[Source: India Today]